- Upcoming Exhibitions
- Special Exhibitions
Universal / Remote
March 6 (Wed), 2024 - June 3 (Mon), 2024
Since the late 20th century, people, capital, and information came to move on a global scale. We entered a new phase in the 2010s along with the proliferation of smart devices and issues such as excessive tourism, shifting of industry’s production costs and environmental impact to developing nations, the digital divide and so forth were only worsening as the 2020s dawned. And while the outbreak of a pandemic that recognizes no borders suddenly put the brakes on the movement of people, the limitless flow of capital and information showed no sign of stopping. In fact, it seems we are seeing the true visage of capital and information systems for the first time. The rich and the poor, the powerful and the powerless: imbalances in our world are becoming more explicit all the time.
The exhibition title Universal / Remote references prevailing conditions in the 21st century as capital and data flow freely on a global scale. Conveying comical aspects of the excesses of surveillance and high-tech networks, as well as the profound isolation of human beings, works in this exhibition seem to grapple head-on with the current era and with the post-COVID world. The exhibition presents the works of 8 artists and a group of 3 artists that address the state of society in the 21st century as shaped by the conditions described above, focusing on two concepts, “Constant Growth at a Pan-Global Scale” and “The Remote Individual.”
Artists: Daisuke Ida / Xu Bing / Trevor Paglen / Giorgi Gago Gagoshidze, Hito Steyerl, Miloš Trakilović / Maiko Jinushi / Tina Enghoff / Jeamin Cha / Evan Roth / Natsuko Kiura
March 6 (Wed), 2024 – June 3 (Mon), 2024
Closed on Tuesdays
*Open on April 30 (Tue.)
- Opening Hours
*10:00-20:00 on Fridays and Saturdays
(Last admission 30 minutes before closing)
The National Art Center, Tokyo
Special Exhibition Gallery 1E
7-22-2 Roppongi, Minato-ku, Tokyo 106-8558
- Organized by
The National Art Center, Tokyo
With the support of
- Admission (tax included)
General 1,500 yen (Adults), 1,000 yen (College students)
- Visitors who are under 18, including high school students, will be admitted for free.
- Disabled persons (along with one assistant) will be admitted for free upon presenting the Disabled Person’s Booklet or an equivalent form of government-issued ID.
- More information on tickets will be posted at a later date on the exhibition website.
- Touring Information
Kumamoto: Contemporary Art Museum Kumamoto; October 7 (Sat.) - December 17 (Sun.), 2023
Hiroshima: Hiroshima City Museum of Contemporary Art; June 29 (Sat.) - September 1 (Sun.), 2024
(+81) 47-316-2772 (Hello Dial)
Born in Tottori, Japan in 1987. Lives and works in Tokyo. He earned an MFA in sculpture from Tokyo University of the Arts in 2015 and completed MAD Art Practice in 2016. While repeatedly returning to the classics of sculpture, Ida uses a variety of media to question what sculpture is. Three video works, For Whom the Bell Tolls?, IKAROS and Fever are presented as a trilogy depicting three phenomena – flying, ascending, and falling (or collapsing) – which Ida composed for this exhibition.
Born in Chongqing, China in 1955. Lives and works in Beijing and New York. He earned an MFA from the Central Academy of Fine Arts (CAFA) in Beijing 1987. Xu’s first moving image work, Dragonfly Eyes, is a film that stitches together 11,000 hours of footage from surveillance cameras freely available on the internet.
*Screening time will be announced at a later date.
Born in Maryland, USA in 1974. Lives and works in Berlin and New York. He holds an MFA from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago and a Ph.D. in Geography from the University of California, Berkeley. Paglen’s main interests are geography, military secrets, surveillance and communication systems, and AI-generated images. He presents three photographic series in this exhibition: Landing Sites, Undersea Cables, and Hallucinations.
Born in Munich, Germany in 1966. Lives and works in Berlin. Steyerl studied documentary film at the Japan Institute of the Moving Image and the University of Television and Film Munich. She holds a Ph.D. in Philosophy from the Academy of Fine Arts
Vienna in 2003.
Giorgi Gago Gagozhidze
Born in Kutaisi, Georgia in 1983. Lives and works in Berlin. He studied fine arts at the State Academy of Arts in Tbilisi (2001–07) and the Royal Academy of Fine Arts in The Hague (2008–10), as well as experimental film and video with Hito Steyerl at the Berlin University of the Arts (2012–16).
Born in Tuzla, Bosnia and Herzegovina in 1989. Lives and works in Berlin and Amsterdam. He studied fine arts at Willem de Kooning Academy in Rotterdam (2009–12) and experimental film and video with Hito Steyerl at the University of the Arts in Berlin (2012–16).
Steyerl has been working on video works about the circulation of images in social conditions such as digital technology and global capitalism. She presents Mission Accomplished: Belanciege together with Gagoshidze and Trakilović.
Born in Kanagawa, Japan in 1984. Lives and works in Tokyo. She earned an MFA from the Tama Art University, Tokyo, in 2010 and participated in the Jan van Eyck Academie residency in 2019-20. Jinushi describes her work, which combines elements including video art, performance, and text, as “a new form of literary experience.” A Distant Duet is a five-part video piece that resembles a letter to the poet and novelist Roberto Bolaño, whom she considers her “spiritual lover.”
Born in Denmark in 1957. Lives and works in Copenhagen. She studied photography at the International Center of Photography (ICP) in New York. Enghoff focuses on societal issues such as structural violence within the welfare state. In Possible Relatives, a photographic series of the rooms of people who had died alone, she questioned the loneliness in the city.
Born in South Korea in 1986. Lives and works in Seoul. She earned a BFA from the Korea National University of Arts in 2010 and an M.A. from the Chelsea College of Design and Arts, London, UK, in 2011. Chroma-key and Labyrinth depicts the labor of individuals supporting the invisible infrastructure of cables underpinning South Korea, a society that prides itself on being extremely online.
Born in Michigan, USA in 1978. Lives and works in Berlin. He holds a B.S. in architecture from the University of Maryland and an MFA in Design & Technology at Parsons. Roth applies the notion of the hack into art making. The immersive installation Since You Were Born, which utilizes images stored in his computer’s cache, captures a new form of self-portrait.
Born in Kagoshima, Japan in 1985. Lives and works in Kagoshima. She earned an MFA from Onomichi City University in Art & Design in 2010. Kiura consistently paints landscapes, especially everyday scenes, in oil. In this exhibition, she expands new landscapes by composing paintings of various sizes, including new works.
Publicity Design / Exhibition Catalogue
The exhibition catalogue to be published will feature nine short stories by novelist Shin Fukunaga. The catalogue, designed by Yuta Murao, will also include commentary on the works, conversations with the artists, interviews and more. The main visual for the exhibition and various publicity design is by graphic designer Shun Ishizuka.
Novelist Shin Fukunaga was born in 1972 in Tokyo. His books include Seiza kara mita chikyu (Earth Seen from the Constellations), ichi ichi ichi ichi ichi, and Jitsuzai no musumetachi (Real Girls). His editorial and writing works include Konnichiwa bijutsu (Hello Art) and Shosetsu no ie (House of Novels).
Graphic designer Shun Ishizuka was born in 1983. His work includes promotional art, book covers, and display design in fields such as contemporary art, performing arts, music, and fashion. He has run his own studio/project space, People, since 2019. In 2023, he won the JAGDA (Japan Graphic Design Association) New Designer Award.
Graphic designer Yuta Murao was born in 1990. He is engaged in various graphic design, book design, and web design projects related to art, fashion, and music, and has also been active as a member of the design studio “well” since 2017.
1. Constant Growth at a Pan-Global Scale
Strengthening of state authority and public acceptance of surveillance systems, so as to prevent the spread of disease and curtail the flow of people across borders, have achieved results in addressing the issues at hand, but remain major points of contention for the post-COVID society of the future. One could say our sense of balance between state power and individual freedom is being tested like never before. However, capital and information are sure to continue moving around the globe with increasing rapidity and acting as relentless drivers of humanity. There have also been recent moves toward adoption of cryptocurrencies and blockchain-based NFTs (non-fungible tokens), mechanisms that enable society to function and continue expanding even when people are physically separated. This section of the exhibition features works that focus on such issues of capital and information.
2. The Remote Individual
Our society has continued to expand on a global scale even during a pandemic. However, strangely and paradoxically, isolation of the individual is also progressing. Today it is thoroughly commonplace for individuals to connect and reach across borders online, without leaving the comfort of their homes. The COVID crisis accelerated a paradigm shift toward the remote, and moving forward, our sense of geographic distance will surely continue to fade in the future. The figure of the worker laboring silently for the sake of a world to which he or she lacks connection, and will never see or actually visit, conveys isolation and profound loneliness, and this cannot fail to have a major impact on the human psyche. This section explores how people work and live in increasingly remote ways premised on contact-less interaction.
Contemporary Art’s Responses to the Pandemic
How did all of us experience the last approximately three years, starting in 2020 when the COVID-19 pandemic became a global crisis? How did society get where it is today?
Through contemporary art, this exhibition will investigate possibilities for post-pandemic society and the state of the individual, and consider directions for the future.
Picturing How We Inhabit a Global Capitalist Society
This exhibition has a two-part structure, with Part 1 titled “Constant Growth at a Pan-Global Scale” and Part 2 “The Remote Individual.”
While “Pan-” (i.e. “Universal”) and “Remote” may seem worlds apart, they are not opposing concepts, but rather resemble two mirrors reflecting each other.
The exhibition reinterprets existing themes in contemporary art from the perspectives of the global-scale “Universal” and the “Remote” that isolates flesh-and-blood humans and controls things from afar, addressing global capitalism and society’s shift to a digital future.
Opportunities for Viewer Interpretation After Three-Plus Years of Crisis
Much of the art presented here was made not during the pandemic, but in 2019 or earlier. After the experiences of the last few years, can we ever view these works in the context in which they were first exhibited?
These works, evoking the absurdities wrought by excessive surveillance and precision technology and the profound isolation of human beings within these systems, intrepidly confront both the current era and prospects for a post-COVID world.
Works by Internationally Active Artists Currently Making a Global Impact
Universal / Remote features a large number of works by artists based outside Japan. In addition to video art by Xu Bing, a renowned, globally active contemporary artist based in New York and Beijing, the National Art Center, Tokyo presents works by Hito Steyerl (in collaboration with Giorgi Gago Gagoshidze and Miloš Trakilović), who has been at the forefront of the international art scene since the 2010s; Trevor Paglen, who integrates cutting-edge science and technology with contemporary art; and Evan Roth, who applies a hacker mind to the creation of art in diverse media. Works by the Danish photographer Tina Enghoff, who spans the fields of photojournalism, fine art, and activism, and the up-and-coming South Korean video artist Jeamin Cha will be exhibited in Japan for the first time. We are also pleased to present a work by Maiko Jinushi that encompass both of the show’s two key concepts, and new works by Daisuke Ida and Natsuko Kiura including those created especially for this exhibition.
Xu Bing, Dragonfly Eyes (2017) - Trailer
©Xu Bing Studio. Courtesy of the Artist.
Xu Bing, The Making of Dragonfly Eyes (2017)
©Xu Bing Studio. Courtesy of the Artist.